In this post I summarise my personal experience of using a device to convert camera to webcam
Buy Elgato Cam Link 4K Elgato Cam Link 4K is hardware for video capture. Meaning it’s a device which converts HDMI output from camera into USB input to computer. It is connected to my D3300 camera and my PC. Using an adaptor cable. As a result the live view on the back of my camera appears on my PC screen. Turning my camera into a webcam. Therefore enabling me to use it with Zoom. And also with Google Meet, for example. Plus other apps and sites needing live video.
Elagato Cam Link 4K looks like a big USB stick, or flashdrive. Connect it directly into a blue USB port. And it ships with an extension cable for flexbility.
You also need :-
Firstly an HDMI-mini HDMI adaptor cable. Which connects your camera into the Elgato Cam Link 4K device.
Maybe you will choose these other items also :-
Secondly a microphone, if you don’t use the camera’s. For instance a desk-top one. Or an earpiece combining microphone and earbud.
Thirdly loud speakers on your desktop. For example if your screen doesn’t have them. Or if you don’t use ear buds or an earpiece.
Fourthly a device for powering your camera . Instead of its battery. Because your battery could run out mid session.
Fifthly a tri-pod. To hold your camera in the right place above your PC screen.
Be sure to check needs for your own camera before buying Elgato Cam Link 4K
Before buying hardware I checked compatibility. Therefore do please check this too. Because it may vary with your equipment. And because this blog post is not a technical guide. Rather it’s just my personal experience. I am writing to reassure you Elgato Cam Link 4K worked for me and my Nikon D3300 DSLR. Again, kindly check all technical things. For example digital camera matching to the Elgato Cam Link 4K at Elgato.com . This customer Q & A on Amazon is helpful too.
So how did it go for me?
Now I’ll talk firstly about buying and setting up the equipment. Secondly some experience of settings in Windows 10. Thirdly my experience of Zoom. Finally advice on D3300 settings.
Buy Elgato Cam Link 4K here. Initially don’t be put off by “unavailable” at this link. Ignore that. I ordered on April 8th, 2020. The Elgato Cam Link 4K arrived May 8th. It’s a great product. So many people want it. Therefore worth waiting for. Moreover the Elgato Cam Link 4K ships with a cool sticker too! Other linked products in this blog arrived sooner.
Buy the HDMI adapter cable here. Get at least the 10 feet one. Choose one pack for one cable, not ten! Because a shorter one could be too short for a desk top set-up with a tri-pod. Firstly the mini-HDMI end of the cable goes into the digital camera. Secondly the other end, larger HDMI, goes into the Elgato Cam Link 4K. Both cable ends are “male”.
Use the camera ‘s own microphone with Elgato Cam Link 4K. Or a desk top microphone or earpiece.
You can use the D3300’s own microphone. Like you’re shooting a video. But for better sound quality I chose the KLIM Talk desk- top microphone. Firstly because it is a good looking design. Secondly because it’s a nice balance between price and quality. Buy the KLIM Talk microphone here.
Windows 10 convert camera to webcam?
In this paragraph I run through the settings for the microphone. From start/settings/system/sound set your chosen microphone as the input device. Next adjust its sensitivity by clicking on sound control panel. Then click recording tab/microphone (the one with a with a green tick). Then in properties/levels set the slider to 100. Be sure the loudspeaker icon isn’t switched off. Also I used this path to adjust my speaker settings. For those, instead of the recording tab click the playback tab. This leads you to speaker settings.
Battery replacement kit for Nikon D3300
Next I talk about the battery replacement kit. Buy a battery replacement kit here. For long sessions this might be useful. Because the battery could run down too early. But first do please check the connector into your home’s power outlet socket. Because we know they differ between countries. I think the one in that link is for the US. But I needed a different one for my home in England. Pictured below. Also get the right kit for your camera. Generally this kit is like a laptop charger. But there’s a “battery-shaped” piece. Which fits into the camera instead of the battery.
Ergonomics? By this I mean heights, furniture and viewing angles!
In this paragraph I describe how I use a full size tripod. Which I already had. Firstly check the minium height of yours. Mine stands two feet off the desk top, minimum. So I had to raise my 23-inch screen upwards. (Or instead of building a screen plinth I could have bought a small desktop tripod). Secondly adjust heights so the camera lens is just high enough to look over the screen-top. Thirdly get your face level with the lens. Which I do using a stool. This all means the camera sees me horizontally. And it sees the background directly. Why is this useful…….?
Using a back ground adds more information.
……Because the background is a useful second source of information. After your talking head, the first source. Therefore you can adjust the Nikon D3300 DSLR focus to see secondary information in the view. In the back ground use a screen to display your logo, for example. Or an atmospheric image. Or a written message. If you do this your viewers recognise that you stand out from the “lap-top” crowd. Why? Look for the talking headsseen on TV. Most use lap-top webcams. So the lap-top screen angle points the webcam up at a dull ceiling! And even up their noses!
Starting up the Elgato Cam Link 4K
Follow the clear instructions on the Elgato Cam Link 4K box. You download the capture software from Elgato using the link they provide. At first my screen said “no signal”. Why? Because I connected into a black USB port (type 2.0). Doh! Instead you need to connect into a blue one (type 3.0 or 3.1). And the desk-top microphone works best with a blue type 3.0 connection too. Because blue USB is much faster than black.
I have yet to really explore the Elgato Cam Link 4K software. Because I needed to get started on Zoom urgently. Open a test-meeting by clicking on test Zoom. You’ll find that menu under support right at the bottom of the home page. Look for it in the dark grey footer. Next click join. A small window opens. That’s called launch application-Zoom meetings. In it click open link. A new window should open with the digital camera ‘s live view showing. In this window click join with video. So now you are in a one person meeting!
Selecting speakers, microphone & camera in Zoom.
Zoom must recognise it should use your Elgato software. To ensure this you select it in Zoom. Do this in the meeting window you’ve made live. At the bottom left are icons for microphone and video. Use these to select your speakers, microphone and digital camera. All those available in your hardware set-up should be listed. Select your preferences. For your digital camera select Cam Link 4K. Also select this as your microphone if you using the digital camera’s microphone. Because the Elgato Cam Link 4k is delivering both your sound and video if you use the digital camera microphone.
Advice on digital camera settings
Set live view is open. Best use the green “auto” setting on the top dial of the D3300. Because it adjusts exposure continually. Leaving you free to talk. I use focal length 35mm because it gives me a fuzzy back ground. Therefore the view concentrates on my face. I have described earlier how you might adjust both focus and depth of field aiming to add useful background information.
Avoid distraction for viewers.
Use manual focus. (Because using auto means the camera is constantly adjusting. Which is a distraction for viewers.) The device gives a really sharp image. Making focus changes stand out. Also I operate with this setting :- menu button/setup menu/auto off timers/custom/live-view/30 minutes. Therefore the D3300 is open in live view for 30 minutes before it automatically closes. During a session longer than 30 mins you will have to switch live view back on. This is the only negative in my experience. But no big deal in return for excellent image quality. And maybe I will find a way to keep live view on for longer. I will let you know if so! Please tell me if you work it out first!
Good luck and enjoy. I find Elgato Cam Link 4K a reliable device to convert camera to webcam. I have enjoyed writing for you. Do please use the links to make your purchases. For a single architect times are uncertain. Therefore a little extra income helps! Here’s how my system works in practice. Finally you can see more of my creative work here and here.